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So you’re new to lifting and you have no idea where to start. We have all been there at some point. There are so many different programs and opinions out there it’s hard to pick just one. Well I’ve got the best option for you if you are a beginner and looking to get in the shape of your life.

First things first, you need to build your base of muscle and strength. Most people try to jump into intermediate to advanced workouts from the beginning which is a huge mistake if you have no previous lifting experience. You have to walk before you run.

Best Workouts For Beginners Guide

Learn from my experience

Personally I was extremely fortunate that I got into weightlifting to gain size for football originally. This was a blessing in disguise because the football program I was involved in had to train about 40 dumb ass kids with no experience in lifting, so they had mastered a system to turn a bunch of weak millennials into moderately weak millennials. To tell you the truth there isn’t much of a difference between 14 year old high school boys and a newbie 30 something year old in the gym. It’s awkward and painful to watch when you have a perspective that comes from experience.

So back to the task at hand. We’re going to get you the base you need to reach your goals. When I was about 14 years old I started performing the basic compound movements, this involved lifts like benchpress, deadlift and squat. These compounds were the foundation to my future progression in the field of bodybuilding. With anything in life you need to crawl before you can run.

I performed these compound movements and trained smaller muscle groups around them. For example, If I was going to train chest when I was a beginner I would always start with bench press and work my way towards lifts like dumbbell flys or dips. I still to this day always start every workout with a compound movement, because it simply works.

 

Three compound movements for success

Like I was saying previously all you really need to master is three compound movements. When these three exercises are performed correctly you are well on your way to a more athletic and healthier body. Lets deep dive into these three movements.

Best Workouts For Beginners Guide

Bench Press

 Who doesn’t love a big chest? With a big chest you suddenly have super human powers when it comes to being able to push things out of your way and you can do pec bounces on that first date and awkwardly go home alone. In all seriousness this movement will not only increase the bulk of your chest but it will also add muscle to your triceps which accounts for 2/3 of your arms.

Whats the first thing I need to learn?

Before you just jump into a bench press you need to warm up your shoulders and chest. This means you need to perform push ups or side dumbbell raises and get blood into your chest muscles so you do not get a pec tear. There is a reason your 2nd grade P.E. Teacher made you do warm ups before you got pelted with balls in dodge ball everyday.

How many reps should I perform?

For the first month I recommend just focusing on stability, bench press is the exercise that causes the most injuries in the gym. This happens because people try to lift too heavy and they tear their pec.

Stick to 12-15 reps on all movements until you feel comfortable with the form. This should take roughly around a month or two.

Where do I put my hands?

This sounds like a dumb question, but it’s something even moderately advanced lifters do not do correctly. Your hands should be aligned with your shoulders on the bar. The further you slide your hands out the more you are engaging your chest. The closer your hands are the more likely it is you are putting the strain on your triceps.

How many sets should I perform?

My answer will always be fairly consistent on a recommendation for sets on a particular exercise and this is four sets.

How many times should I do bench press a week?

I would recommend doing benchpress 1-2 times maximum per week. Your chest is a large muscle group and when it is worked out properly it will take time to recover.

For a complete workout on how to train chest make sure to check out my article How to train Chest

Best Workouts For Beginners Guide

Deadlift

If I could only do one lift for the rest of my life I would choose the deadlift. This compound movements not only trains your back but it also hits your legs as well. Most people skip this exercise because it takes quite a bit of effort, those are also the people who will quit going to the gym after about 2-3 weeks of working out and if you’ve gotten this far into the article then i’m assuming that’s not you.

 What’s the first thing I need to Learn?

This is by far the best exercise for overall muscle gain and strength increases across the board, this is also a lift that can be dangerous if your form is not on point. When performing this exercise its important to lift with your legs and back at the same time. As you go heavier this can be a dangerous lift if all of the strain goes to your back.

How many reps should I perform?

If you are starting out , begin with 10 - 12 reps. As you get more comfortable with the movement graduate to 4-6 reps.

How many time a week should I do deadlifts?

I recommend doing deadlifts once a week, this exercise hits your entire back and your legs and glutes. When this lift is performed properly you should be pretty strained, when you focus on this as your main movement on a back day you’ll find yourself only needing to do 2-3 more exercises to complete your back day.

Best Workouts For Beginners Guide

Squats

We have all seen the guy in the gym with the massive upper body who paid no attention to his lower leg development, when there is higher wind speeds these individuals are subject to tipping over, you do not want to be this guy. Squats are great because they hit the entire leg your quads, hamstrings and glutes. When done properly this movement also helps you release more natural free testosterone and growth hormone. So in short if you skip leg day you’re doing yourself a massive disservice to your progression.

Whats the most important thing to learn about squats?

Well in short, be careful! You have 100 lbs on your back and you’re squatting down to the ground. If you do not have good form and control over the weight one wrong move could cause an injury. Make sure you have great form and squat to a 90 degree angle. This can be practiced if you squat and sit down on a benchpress at the bottom of the movement. This will train you to understand what it feels like to get down to a 90 degree angle.

How many reps should I perform?

I would recommend 10-12 reps to start, in fact I would recommend this rep range at all times whether you are a beginner or an advanced lifter.

How many sets should I perform?

4 sets is all you’ll need to get the results you’re looking for. As you progress from set to set I would try to go heavier and heavier. For example for your first set you would warm up with 90 lbs, second set 100 lbs, third set 110 lbs and the fourth set 120 lbs.

How many times a week should I do squats?

When done properly you should have a problem getting up from the throne of porcelain at your house. If you do not feel sore in your legs after doing 4 sets of squats then you need to train them harder. That being said you only need to do squats once a week.

Best Workouts For Beginners Guide

Conclusion

Well there you have it, the three pillars you’ll need to master on your fitness journey. It doesn’t matter what your goals are, you are better off in any situation if these three compound movements are mastered and taken seriously. Even to this day I start my workouts with these compound movements. I suppose those freshman football workouts paid off in the end.


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